Friday, May 3, 2013

Lesson Learned - The St. Anthony's Race Report

This is a little late and also if you're a regular reader you'll note that the weekly Monday post never made it. That's all because I've been belly up in a viral-induced, chest infection potentially flu related sick-fest.

Yup, tons of fun here. But just wait it gets worse.

First let me say St. Anthony's is a great race, good venue the whole thing is really great. Now onto the story.

The plan
For those of you who don't know my life is complicated and very busy. I have 4 kids (2 of those are adult step-kids). As it worked out St. A's was the same time my step son needed to be picked up after his Freshman year of college at UF. So the plan was to drive up to St. Peterburg in two cars. After the race I would drive home with the kids and my hubby would drive up and get Justin and come home Tuesday. It was a good plan but it didn't work out exactly that way.

Friday we checked into the hotel the Alden Resort and Suites. We had elected to stay on the beach so my hubs and the kids could play while I did my thing. It's an older hotel and our room was very musty. Not great but we'd make due. The kids were dying to get to the beach so we immediately suited up and headed to the sand. My son took 2 steps into the ocean and sliced open his big toe on a shell. Blood everywhere. Not fun. But we didn't panic because to be honest he's a little boy and he's prone to stuff like this.  We looked and decided it wasn't stitch-worthy so we headed to the room to put on a band-aid.

Now that Jack would let me actually look at his toe. I took two giant shell splinters out and shockingly he felt much better.

Then I was off to do a brick workout with the group and pick up my packet and check my bike. My throat was scratchy and I hadn't slept well in the musty hotel. I figured it was related. The brick workout went well and I left my bike in its spot - everything was going well. I self-diagnosed myself with allergies to the dust in the hotel and picked up some zyrtec at the Walgreens on the way home. The kids had a great day with their dad on the beach.  I got my race stuff all ready to go for the next day and we met the group for dinner in downtown St. Pete.

Sunday - Race Day
I slept okay. I got up and took a zyrtec still not feeling 100% but not feeling horrible either. I saw the announcement that the race was wetsuit legal (not a surprise there actually although I personally have no idea where they measured the water). Made what was honestly the worst coffee on the planet in the hotel room. Threw that out. Grabbed my stuff and headed to the race. I drank my gatorade on the way. I parked my car and walked over to transition. It was very windy and cool temperature-wise like low 70s. Brrrr. I talked to a local guy who said no worries the wind was going to die down with the sunrise and we should we swimming with the outgoing tide. Sounded good to me. 

I wrestled with my Fuelselage ... that thing can be annoying but got everything set up. I didn't find any of my teammates but no biggie. I was starting earlier than them anyway. So I headed over to the start. Wiggled into my wetsuit by myself thank you very much and did a little warm up swim. Watched the pros start. And then they announced the swim was shortened for the age groupers. Bummer but whatever. The start was delayed for about 15 minutes while they reset the course.  I did another warm up swim. The water was really warm and extremely salty. I swear it's saltier than the ocean on this side. I'm not sure how that can be but I really do think it is.

Finally did the swim. It was fine. It was actually a deep water start which is to say I was floating in my wetsuit waiting to go. I made sure to put my face in the water several times. I also did my little count to 3 after the start to miss most of the melee. It didn't work. I was in the thick of the group which was fine actually. But I did get kicked in the chin ... ouch! I concentrated on staying slow and calm in the swim and I only did 2 little pop ups to catch my breath. The first was after I got slammed in the face the other was just because. So I felt fine on the swim in fact I would say I was just sort of getting warmed up as I rounded the last buoy. I swam until my fingers were dragging in the sand mostly to avoid walking in the sea grass which I totally hate. And I still had probably 50 feet of mid-knee deep water to walk though. Then it was a 1/2 mile jog to transition. Running in the wetsuit ... not fun.  Lots of people were complaining about the chop in the swim but to be honest I didn't think it was that bad.

see ... all smiles!

look at me cruising along in my socks. These were my lucky socks but perhaps no longer.

I was off onto the bike and felt good. I did finish my fluids with about 6 miles to go but I figured that was okay. Nothing eventful on the bike. I leapfrogged with a few girls near me the whole time.

see ... still smiling on the bike. What is up with me not noticing that my shorts were all messed up?

Onto the run. Felt fine. Gu in hand I ran out. The plan as always to run to the first water station and take my gu. At the water station I took the gu, drank all my water and then ran on. I felt fine. The problems started at mile 2 when I noticed that I wasn't sweating. My arms were dry, my face was dry, my head was dry. Not good I thought.

I'm not a heavy sweater but I do sweat and on a hot day on a 6 mile run I'll be wet with sweat. I got extra water and gatorade at the next water stop and made sure that I drank the whole thing. Then I headed back out. I stopped at every water stop and drank 2 cups of water and a few sips of gatorade. I also poured water on my head and body. But by mile 4 I had goose bumps on my arms and was shivering. I knew I was in bad shape. Just before mile 5 I saw my coach on the course he was running the other way and I was a mess. He said go to the next water stop put ice in my top and my pants and just take it step by step. I did that but I'll admit it was crazy hard. I was walking a lot and I was really dizzy. If there had been anybody on the course except young volunteers I would have given up. Sometimes there are groups of medics with little golf carts. I was crying a little bit and just trying to get to the end.
This is the finish line chute. It looks like that is almost a smile on my face but it's not it's a look of sort of concentration. Look at how tightly my hands are into fists ... it's not my normal gleeful I'm almost done look.

At the finish I went straight to the medic tent. Actually I have to admit that I must have looked in bad shape because I was led to the medic tent by a doctor volunteer before I even got my medal. I couldn't even really talk. They sat me down and covered me with cold towels and then made me sit in the ice pool while I drank my Gatorade. I was there probably 30 minutes and then after I peed in the porta potty they let me go. I had some pizza, chocolate milk, fuit, chips and more Gatorade. Then I headed into transition to get my bike. It was probably 85 degrees out and while I was waiting in the sun I was shivering so much that my teeth were chattering. I was in short - a mess.

I got my stuff together. I made it to the car and back to the hotel room where I took off my wet clothes, took my temperature (102) ate some tylenol and climbed immediately into bed and fell asleep.

Modified Plans
My husband observant that he is quickly picked up that I wouldn't be driving to Miami that night. So new plan number one. Rest and we'd all head out the next day.

The next morning though despite a full night of tylenol and ibuprofen I was in the same shape - worse even. I could barely stand up I was so dizzy. Fever still 102. I announced I needed a doctor. We found a walk in doctor that would open at 9 and the new plan was to leave one car in St. Pete and all of us would head up to Gainesville pick up the collegiate and then all come back and drive home. If I still couldn't drive he could drive the second car back to Miami.

Marc packed everything .... everything. I lay in bed feeling craptastic.

The Nurse practitioner looked me over and announced I had an upper respiratory infection (technical speak for cold) and prescribed amoxicillan and mucinex dm. As a note they did take my blood pressure which was 89/56. In hindsight I wonder why they didn't flag that as low but who knows why anyone does anything these days.

We stopped at CVS and filled the prescription which I took right away and we headed North in the car. We stopped about 40 minutes later because the kids were hungry and I was all for stopping because I felt carsick and I had only eaten 2 bananas all day so I thought food might be a good idea.

Getting out of the car I will admit I felt LOUSY. I was very dizzy and walking was a real challenge. I was moving very slowly. I sat at the table and had a vew sips of apple juice when I was pretty sure I was going to throw up.

I stood up and made it about 3 steps to the hostess table where I must have stopped and grabbed on for balance. I remember the host asking me if I was okay and it was pretty clear to me that I wasn't okay. I called out for Marc and that's all I remember.

I fainted. Luckily Marc had made it to my side so I didn't hit the ground or anything when I collapsed.

I came to about a minute later and proceded to throw up all over myself and the floor. It was awful. I will say that in all honesty I have never in my life felt as bad as I did at this moment. My vision was all screwed up and like I was looking down a tunnel. Voices sounded off and I could hear the blood rushing through my head. I was covered in a heavy cold sweat all over my body.

I was also really embarrassed. Seems silly but here I was wearing basically pajamas with complete strangers sort of swarming around me and did I mention I was covered in vomit and a sheen of sweat?

The nice folks at Denny's had called 911 when I collapsed in part because Marc shrieked, "CALL 911!" and when they came they took my blood pressure and the top number was 70. There was apparently no bottom number. Not good. They announced that I needed IV fluids. And after my husband realized that yet another set of plans would have to be redone he agreed too. So they put me in the ambulance and hooked up the IV. It wasn't fun. I will tell you that they had to lift me 100% out of the chair I had no strength at all. But I will say that I did feel better even as fast as when that first bag was in.

Of course, my mother-in-law called my husband while he was following the ambulance and he took that oportunity to just say, "I can't talk mom I'm following the ambulance with Amy in it!" She's called every ten minutes since then to check on how I'm doing. 

They took me to the Pasco Medical Center where I spent a few hours mostly getting another bag of IV fluids but also ruling out other causes of my fainting. CT scan, chest scan, EKG, blood work and urine analysis. Then they let me go with instructions to keep pushing fluids. Pushing fluids they explained to me meant keep drinking even though you don't feel thirsty.They also changed the antibiotic in case it was some kind of allergic reaction that pushed me over the edge although everybody agreed I just got myself super dehydrated with the combination of the cold and the race.

Back in the car I kept falling asleep but Marc would wake me and remind me to keep drinking my water and Gatorade. We made it to Gainesville where I climbed back into bed and fell immediately asleep. I ate dinner in the room and I wasn't able to eat much but I did drink my whole 20 ounce gingerale which I considered progress.

Monday Morning
Thankfully my husband went to Wal-Mart and got me a clean outfit. If I had to wear the vomit pants another day I would have been very sad.

I was able to eat a light breakfast normally and we headed South. No more drama except the DVD got stuck in the machine... oh and we got a flat on Alligator Alley which was a pain but the Road Rangers changed it and we were back on our way. While I was outside when they were changing the tire I felt a bead of sweat drip down my arm and I was secretly thrilled that my body was working again to cool itself. Gross but true.

So what's the lesson?
So, what's the lesson? The lesson for me is don't race (or train I guess) when you feel like you have a cold. It's not worth it. Personally I won't need a reminder I can honestly say I never want to feel like that again, ever.

Since then both my kids have also gotten sick so it was definitely some kind of bug that was making the rounds. The pediatrician actually said my daughter had the flu but one day later my son flunked the flu test and nowhere in my comprehensive weekend of doctors did anybody think I had the flu ... so who knows.

I haven't worked out all week because I've been healing. Yesterday was my first day of 3 solid meals and today I actually cooked two meals and went for a walk.

Unfortunately this week was supposed to be a key week in Ironman training. Tomorrow was supposed to be 16-18 miles and I haven't looked but that means 95-100 miles on the bike on Sunday but neither of those are happening. So I'll make a new plan with my coach tomorrow. I would have been anxious about skipping the trainings but honestly I was concentrating too hard on getting better to even consider swimming or biking.


  1. Ease up. Don't sweat the missed week (pun intended). You are so on track for this race. (And if you're going to throw up in public, the most justifiable possible place is Denny's).

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I do feel bad for the folks at Denny's I mean somebody had to clean that up and that's pretty gross.